Kenny Britt’s debut for the Tennessee Titans will have to wait.
Britt was present on the practice field Sunday after agreeing to terms Saturday evening, but because of lingering issues with his hamstring did not practice and will begin his fist Titans training camp on the active physically unable to perform (PUP) list.
Britt showed a slight limp in his right leg favoring the hamstring that he originally injured the second day of May OTAs, then re-injured the final week of June work.
“We evaluated his hamstring he had injured prior to leaving after the OTAs, and as a result of the evaluation, we felt it would be best to place him on active PUP status, which will not allow him to practice,” Titans coach Jeff Fisher said. “After the evaluation, it was apparent that he could probably fight his way through practice, but with the experience we’ve been through in the past, you would be subjecting him to reinjuring the hamstring. So we decided to put him on active PUP, and we’re going to continue to rehab him.”
Britt, who missed two days of practice with a contract holdout, now runs the risk of falling way behind in his bid to earn a spot in the wide receiver rotation early on.
“Of course, it puts him behind,” Fisher said. “He’s going to stay up mentally, and we’re gonna get him to a point where he can compete. He’ll catch up. As I said, he’s a smart young man. He understands what we’re doing and we’ll get him on the practice field as soon as we can. It makes no sense to subject him – especially a young player. ... So we’re going to be wise as far as our approach to him.”
Britt still believes he can make up ground if he uses his time wisely in the classroom and watching on the field, with no playing time available just yet.
“It’s frustrating but I’m happy to be here and back with my teammates and the rest of my rookie class and ready to learn the playbook,” Britt said.
Britt said he wanted to give it a go, but trainers and team officials decided to hold him back, given that he has already had issues with the hamstring twice during OTAs.
“It took me testing it to find out I wasn’t going to go. Me, I was going to fight it. I would have gone through practice and everything like that, if it wasn’t going to cause me to re-injure it,” Britt said. “I’m just going to work with the trainers, and try to get back as soon as possible. I’m still getting mental reps and everything like that. It’s just the physical part.”
As far as a timetable for his return, Fisher said Britt most likely wouldn’t play on Sunday against Buffalo in the Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio, and might not be back until a week or so.
“It could be end of the week, or we could wait a week before we allow him to come back. We wanted to take an aggressive approach to his rehab and get his conditioning level up before we allow him to get back on the practice field,” Fisher said. “I’d say it’s probably unlikely that he’ll play this week. I won’t rule him out. He’s got a ways to go. He’s young and eager and we’ll get him out here as quick as we can.”
Linebacker Keith Bulluck, himself a former first-round pick, said Britt should want to return ASAP, rather than fall behind.
“It’s on him to want to be out there,” Bulluck said. “That would motivate me if I were him. … I don’t know how cool it is to be the first-round draft pick, just walking around not practicing and sitting around smiling. I don’t know what’s keeping him out of practice today, but hopefully, he’ll be out there tomorrow.”